Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 19 October |
Saint of the Day: St. Isaac Jogues and the Martyrs of North America
Aleteia logo
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Discovery of tomb at biblical Armageddon offers tantalizing clues to Canaanite history

MEGIDDO

Seetheholyland.net | CC BY SA 2.0

John Burger - published on 03/28/18

Unearthing of intact 3,600-year-old burial chamber may lead to new understanding of pre-biblical history.

The details of the archaeological discovery have the trappings of an Indiana Jones movie: dirt seeming to spill through the cracks of an already-known palace floor led to the discovery of a corridor that had not been seen for thousands of years. That in turn led to a previously unknown burial chamber.

And it all took place in a place called Megiddo, whose Greek name, Armageddon, still evokes fears of the End Times.

Archaeologists have been trying to unlock “the secrets of Megiddo” for over a century, notes the website Livingist. Now, a discovery of a 3,600-year-old tomb is being seen as a big leap forward in that pursuit.

The tomb held three undisturbed bodies, all richly adorned with gold, and historians are salivating over what clues the contents of they may offer for the true nature of Megiddo and its inhabitants.

According to National Geographic, the earliest recorded battle in the history of the Ancient Near East was at Megiddo, when the forces of Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III besieged the fortified city in the first half of the 15th century B.C.

“After a seven-month long siege, the city surrendered and yielded to the pharaoh, who incorporated Canaan as a province into his empire,” says the website:

Megiddo dominated a strategic pass on major international military and trade routes for nearly five millennia, from 3000 B.C. to 1918.

The tomb, next to the royal palace, dates to the later phase of the Middle Bronze Age, around 1700-1600 B.C. This is when Megiddo was at its peak and before the ruling dynasty collapsed under the might of Thutmose’s army, National Geographic explained.

At least six sets of human remains had been interred in the tomb as well, apparently pushed to the back of the chamber in a jumble when the three richly adorned corpses were interred. These and other bodies unearthed at Megiddo are undergoing DNA testing, which could for the first time reveal whether the “common” inhabitants of the Canaanite city-state were of the same background as the elite.

This might explain why the king in the years following the conquest by Thutmose did not have a Semitic name but a Hurrian one: Birydia.

Long thought to be a roving mountain people who emerged in the region sometime between the fourth and third millennium B.C., the Hurrians are now believed to have had an advanced culture with a distinctive language and belief system that may have played a key role in shaping the first cities and states of the Near East.

“The forthcoming DNA results from Megiddo may for the first time reveal the Hurrian role in running Canaanite city states, as well as change our perception of the population of Canaan,” National Geographic said.

“These studies have the potential to revolutionize what we know about the population of Canaan,” said Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University, who is part of the team doing the current archaeology, “before the rise of the world of the Bible.”

Located 19 miles south of Haifa, the excavation area of Megiddo is a World Heritage site.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
AVENIDO BROTHERS
Agnès Pinard Legry
Three brothers ordained priests on the same day in the Philippine...
2
difficult people
Zoe Romanowsky
How to love people you don’t really like
3
Philip Kosloski
A scientist describes the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima
4
SQUID GAMES
Philip Kosloski
How the violence in ‘Squid Game’ can impact your soul
5
SKULL AND CROSSBONES
Margaret Rose Realy, Obl.OSB
The ‘Tree of Death’ haunts many a cemetery
6
saint teresa of Avila
Zelda Caldwell
Now there’s a computer font based on St. Teresa of Avila’s handwr...
7
Cerith Gardiner
Archbishop gives little girl a beautiful response about why God a...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.